Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens join growing list of US Open withdrawals

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Telegraph Sport
·2 min read
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Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine, returns a shot to Serena Williams during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York - Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens join growing list of US Open withdrawals - AP
Elina Svitolina, of Ukraine, returns a shot to Serena Williams during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York - Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens join growing list of US Open withdrawals - AP

Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the latest big names to pull out of the US Open.

Svitolina, the world No 5, and Bertens, the No 7, have followed in the footsteps of defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and ­women’s world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in deciding against playing in New York due to fears over Covid-19.

The grand slam, due to be played in a biosecure bubble with strict safety protocols at Flushing Meadows, is set to take place from Aug 31 to Sept 13, but many players are not prepared to travel.

Svitolina said in a statement on Twitter: “Considering all the ­aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open. I want to thank the USTA, organisers and WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans to watch this great event. I understand and respect all the ­efforts they are putting in to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk.”

Dutchwoman Bertens added: “The situation surrounding Covid-19 is still so worrying that everyone’s health is paramount and control of this virus is of course a priority. Our prime minister also indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for two weeks after America.”

French Open champion Barty was the first to withdraw before ­Nadal’s announcement this week that he was not prepared to go to the United States while infection rates were so high in Spain.

Kiki Bertens - AP
Kiki Bertens - AP

He said: “The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it. This is a decision I never wanted to take, but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I would rather not travel.”

Australian Nick Kyrgios is ­another leading name not involved, but Serena Williams is definitely playing, Andy Murray has accepted a wild card and Novak Djokovic is also still on the current list of ­entrants.

PA